Reason #95 to Keep Living: Early Mornings


If I could give one piece of advice to someone suffering from depression, it would be to wake up as early as possible.

And, by “wake up,” I don’t mean merely opening your eyes and — more than likely — rolling over to look at your phone. I mean waking up, getting up, showering, putting on some clean clothes, brushing your teeth, and eating breakfast. This not only establishes a routine, but also jump-starts your system. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll be tired enough to go to bed by the time evening shows its slow and sluggish head (instead of, for example, watching Netflix into the night). If you’re lucky, you’ll be tired enough to go to bed in order to wake up again, early — as early as you possibly can.

There’s something essential in cutting drowsiness at its core, snipping it like an umbilical cord from your body, giving yourself a fighting chance, some rest before the battle, giving yourself a reasonable night’s sleep, getting yourself up at a time that says, in the temperature of the air and slant of the sun, that there is an entire, full, as yet un-punctured day ahead of you.

Read the original post of 101 Reasons to Keep Living to discover the genesis of this project, or catch up on any posts you might have missed here

Reason #94 to Keep Living: Rest

sunset city

You may have noticed, I didn’t write my scheduled blog post. You may have noticed, I’ve been a little absent. I haven’t been cruising the internet as much, haven’t been rushing for quick and easy publications. I’ve been biding my time. I’ve been resting.

To be honest, this series had begun to feel a little monotonous. Less than ten reasons to keep living from the end, I was wondering why I started writing these posts in the first place. The process of blog posting was weighing on me, becoming cliche and robotic. How could I tell you, again, to keep living? Were there any reasons left?

So I took a break. I rested. It’s summer, and this is the free time I thought I would use to dig into my side projects, blog posts included. I would read books, I would exercise, I would write things — so many things! — and I would somehow, amidst all of this, keep up two part-time jobs, a continually growing list of social engagements, volunteer as prose reader and assistant editor for literary journals, and co-organize a reading series.

I’ve done most of it, a satisfying amount, but there is always more, and more, and more. My blog posts weren’t getting enough attention. They were feeling empty, thrown together in an evening, published halfheartedly. Like an un-watered plant, withering, I wasn’t properly taking care of them. Continue reading

Reason #79 to Keep Living: Blue Skies

Blue Skies

Sunshine is hard to come by these days. In Japan, the sun sets around 5 pm at this time of year, leaving the days short. They feel cut off, choked by the night before they’ve hardly begun. An announcement rolls across the neighbourhood out of loud speakers at exactly 4:30 pm, telling the children to go home, that darkness is coming soon. I feel my heart roll up in my chest and a solid ball form in my throat. Another day, gone. Another round of sunlight pulled down into the horizon.

So, when the sunshine is out, I try my best to enjoy it. I walk around in it, let it in the window, touch it with my hands. It’s warm and white. It heats up the inside of my apartment, and leaves it heated well into the evening.

Things aren’t so bad, when there are blue skies in November.

There are blue skies in November. There are blue skies.

Read the original post of 101 Reasons to Keep Living to discover the genesis of this project, or catch up on any posts you might have missed here

Reason #51 to Keep Living: Birthdays


I’m sorry this post is a day late: yesterday was my 23rd birthday, and the day was a little too jam-packed to construct a proper blog post. Here is a photo of me about to blow out the candles on my cake. I love cake, so I was pretty happy.

I was also surrounded by family. These are the people who helped me get to my 23rd birthday in the first place. Because for a while I didn’t believe I would make it to my 20th, 21st, or 22nd. Now here I am at my 23rd. I couldn’t feel more accomplished or more surprised at my own perseverance.  Continue reading

Reason #31 to Keep Living: Resolutions on Illness


I sometimes feel that I write too often about sickness, endurance, and healing. When will the illness, the writing about the illness, end? What will the resolution be? Will there be a resolution? Can there be? Then I remember that sickness, endurance, and healing are what this blog series is all about. It’s only natural that sickness should rear its malformed, energy-sucking, laughing head every once in a while.

I’ve had the sensation lately of reaching for an unreachable summit, a height so unattainable it exceeds my vision. I feel as if I’ve tried everything and exhausted all of my options. I’ve tried therapy, medication, meditation, exercise, yoga, sunlamps, journals — the list goes on. But, like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, mental illnesses and many other sicknesses are never resolved easily, and it is only patience and endurance that create healing.  Continue reading